Like Father, Like Son? How Ron Artest III Finally Came Around to Basketball
Metta World Peace says he "tried to be a hands-off basketball dad," but he admits it's fun to see his son, a two-star recruit at Beverly Hills High, seriously play basketball after years of having not interest at all.
Courtesy Ron Artest III/Instagram
For all 17 years of his young life, people close to Ron Artest III have called him "Little Ron." But most people might know him simply as the son of Ron Artest II a.k.a. Metta World Peace, the NBA champion, former NBA Defensive Player of the Year, and one of the most colorful characters in league history.
While some NBA offspring grow up wanting to follow in their fathers' footsteps right from the start (see: two-time reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry), Artest III, the second of four siblings and eldest son, had other interests—like modeling—and, unlike his dad, a reserved personality.
"I've always liked watching my dad play the game of basketball but originally had no interest in playing at all," Artest III said. "I was having fun doing other things outside of sports, so playing basketball then wasn't an option for me."
It wasn't until after turning 15, during his freshman year of high school, that Artest III showed any interest in playing the game. His natural talent allowed him to shine almost immediately, despite lacking a solid foundation.
"I was lazy when I was younger," Artest III said. Still, in his sophomore year at Palisades High, he led the team in rebounding and into the postseason.
Now a six-foot-eight junior at Beverly Hills High and a spitting image of his father, Artest III is a budding two-star recruit. He has been playing on the AAU summer circuit, and is expected to be a major contributor as a starting forward for the Normans this season
For Artest II, who never pushed his son to play basketball, watching this happen is a dream come true.
"I'm very proud of Ron and what he's doing on and off the court and watching him grow into his own man," Artest II said. "I try to be a hands-off basketball dad and let him make his own decisions and learn and grow from his mistakes. I'm really excited to watch him play and continue developing his social skills at Beverly Hills High this year, because what kid doesn't want to say he went to school in Beverly Hills? At the end of the day I want Ron and all of my kids just to enjoy the earth and all the good that comes with it instead all the killing and drug dealing I saw coming up in Queensbridge."
Artest II grew up in the projects in Queens, New York, where he became a high school hoops star at La Salle Academy. At St. John's University, he led the Red Storm to the Elite Eight of the 1999 NCAA Division I Tournament before turning pro and getting selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 16th pick of the 1999 NBA draft.
The younger Artest doesn't feel any pressure to duplicate his father's success on the court. Instead, he views using his father's knowledge as the best way to overcome a steep learning curve.
"I've learned just about everything he tells me is spot-on and will come up in a game situation sooner or later," Artest III said. "The fact he knows the game so well definitely makes things easier for me and has allowed me to learn how to get open better and play better defense while getting more comfortable the more I play the game."
Artest III is also blessed to have inherited his father's size and ridiculous athleticism. For proof, just get on YouTube to watch him dunk on poor helpless defenders—much like his father did in his younger days.
Even with some early success under his belt, though, Artest III knows there's a lot of work ahead of him.
"Now that I like the game and have a passion for it, I'm very focused on reaching my full potential," he said.
He ultimately hopes to get a scholarship somewhere; none have been offered yet, but Ron has impressed scouts with his rebounding and defensive prowess. The next step is to improve on his basketball fundamentals.
For Artest II, watching his son go through the recruiting process has been a real trip.
"It has been cool hearing people say he's good and things; and at times this has been a surreal experience watching people starting to show him some interest because of his ability," Artest II said. But, he added, "as a parent, I'm most concerned with him respecting humans and the earth while he works towards being a successful young man. Because basketball is just a side thing in the big equation."
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